Animal Testing: Pros and Cons


    Animal testing is probably one of the points at issues of contemporary science. Scientists carry out tests on dumb animals for a variety of ends among which are basic studies of organisms functioning, development of potential methods of human diseases treatment. Also safety examination and quality of medicine, devices and other objects. Animal testing supporters points at a huge progress in medicine, which became possible due to such tests. Opponents though consider them to be cruel and pointless as long as the results of animal observations far from always are applicable to a human. 

    In 1959, William Russell and Rex Burch who stood for more humane approach to using animals for researching studies developed The Three Rs: to limit usage of animals, to optimize the tests, in order for the animals to suffer less, to refuse from those tests, which are possible to replace with alternative methods. The Three Rs has become more of a generally accepted one during the last five decades. Although, authenticity of the published statistics on the number of animals used for testing is different, it still gives an image of the tendency. In the present days, about 29 million of animals a year are provided tests on in the USA and European Union countries (80% of them are rats and mice). It is less than a half of those in the middle of 1970`s. Recession is obvious though it has stopped for the last 10 years.

   As statistics shows, in some spheres of human activities, usage of animals in research studies is stopped sooner than in others. The general idea is that development of technologies sooner or later will let refuse from the alike tests. Opponents of this point of view say that “dead” models will never replace laboratory rats and other living things by accuracy of results.   

  Thinking of animal testing, a human being normally imagines raws of cages with gnawing animals in a laboratory of a pharmaceutic company. In accordance with information provided by the countries of European Union, there are twice as little of animals used in the pharmaceutic sector than in research laboratories, at that usage of animals in development of medications essentially decreased in the period from 2005 to 2008 – there is no later statistics as of yet.  

    Thomas Hartung, heading the center of alternatives for animal testing from the University of John Hopkins in Baltimore (the USA) gives two reasons of that. First of all, medications are developed more often in the way that to interact with certain molecular microorganisms. It is easier to find them in the culture dish than inside of animals. Secondly, to conduct experiments in 1536-alveolar dishes is essentially cheaper than in animals, this is why companies are motivated to use alternative methods if any. Find out more information applying for help online.   

   Effectiveness and safety of a medication should be tested on animals in the USA and European Union and then only testing on people begins. Although, European Union`s directive for the year 2010 calls for usage of alternative methods if there are any. Jan Ottesen, vice-president on animal science in laboratory conditions of Novo Nordisk Dutch company, a producer of insulin an other medications from diabetes and hemophilia says that his company searches actively for methods of testing, which are able to replace animal testing without risking their lives. 15 years ago, Novo Nordisk decided to replace tests on animals with cell culture at before sale quality control of every lot of medications. The company had to give evidence to the authorities of alternative testing to work just as well. The move to the new method was ended up in the year 2011 only.

    As Ottesen notes, there are simply no equivalent variants types of tests animals are supposed to be used for. For example, searching for a medicine from joint pain connected with arthritis, a model is required imitating a human`s condition. According to him, it is important to conduct an experiment so unwanted pain was avoided. As for the check of medicine on safety and toxicity, Jan Ottesen does not see how it is possible to avoid usage of animals in the nearest future but it is necessary to implement all the possible alternatives.   

Under the pressure

    Safety check of other materials is a different story besides the medications for humans and animals – toiletries, household chemicals and chemicals-industrial. Thomas Hartung thinks that testing methods used these days are old-fashioned and not enough precise. In particular, a test on toxicity with gnawing animals taking part in it lets define 43% of cases only how toxic the checked substance for a human is. On the other hand, dozens of thousands of alike goods failed the test on toxicity.   

    It would be too expensive and impractical to close a formed breach by means of tests on animals only. There is an organization called REACH in Europe, which seeks for alternatives. Its task is to reconsider the rules on chemical safety, national institute of health, which works with modernization in the area of toxicology.

    It is Hartung`s opinion that it is possible to completely refuse from animal testing having enough investments and the elvel of coordination. He takes the lead of Toxom of a human project (on the analogy with genom of a human), which is to define how the substances interrupt hormone conditioning and endanger our health and also to develop progressed methods of laboratory check on toxicity without animals to take part in it. Hartung admits that the project moves rather slowly: “We do not have a human material to compare as well as neither we have any of high quality animal material.” It makes it to where the participants of the project face difficulties in estimating the quality of testing.    

   Meanwhile, almost four out of ten animals taking part in the studies, are used in fundamental but not in application biological studies and this correlation increases. Veterinarian Sarah Wolfensohn who takes the lead of Seventeen Eighty Nine British agency consulting research workers on animal housing conditions. According to her story, current situation is partly connected with the fact that many fundamental studies are performed in academic circles where the interest for alternative methods of testing are weaker than in commercial sector as long as there is no commitment to results and to payback.       

    Wolfensohn names other factors: “If a professor in the university was developing experimental methods on the monkey`s brains during all his career and now young research workers tell him that there is no need in that and that everything can be done on a computer, his reputation turns out to be exploded.  

    Besides that, the veterinarian adds that it is important not only to scale back the number of the used animals but also to make sure they are used highest possible in a humane way in order to receive the best possible results and to prevent from overtreatment”.   

    Overall, a process to make it limited with animal testing – on financial, scientific or moral compulsion - are growing in strength. Experts note that usage of animals in many areas of biological studies decreases despite genetic developments on mice because of which common rates do not decrease.  if you found the article useful, order a paper on our website!